Water and the West

Your RCCD Supervisors recently wrote an opinion that was published in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. We want to be sure that our state is planning for water use with an increasing population and amid concerns about drought. From the piece:

The biggest cautionary message from Western Slope farmers and ranchers: taking water from the West Slope could devastate the region’s farms and ranches and, as a result, the entire state economy. This would not be a viable answer to the state’s water challenges.

The reality is that Colorado’s population is increasing and as drought conditions mean less water, there is a looming shortage that must be addressed with smarter solutions to ensure a sustainable future for Colorado. Whether for domestic or agricultural purposes, we can all use water better. A recent poll found that most of us are willing to reduce our use and find other ways to protect our water supply.

Read more here. And click here to hear directly from Colorado farmers and ranchers who are concerned about water use in our state. Please share and let us know what you think!

Accepting District Manager Applications

The Routt County Conservation District is currently accepting District Manager applicants. This is a part time position.

This position provides managerial, administrative, supervisory, educational, and technical support to the Routt County Conservation District Supervisors in carrying out the District’s program in conformance with the purpose of the District. This professional position requires skills and experience in program development and administration, communications and financial management. The position may also require supervision of other District employees. The incumbent must also possess technical knowledge and/or work experience in agriculture and urban natural resources management.

Full Job Description

To apply please send a cover letter, resume and references to board@routtcountycd.com or submit in person at 1475 Pine Grove Road Ste. 201A by 4:00pm November 10th, 2016.

Join us for our Local Working Group Meeting

 

The Routt County Conservation District and Natural Resource Conservation Service is requesting your input and discussion in identifying the top Natural Resource priorities here in Routt County, Colorado.  We will be a hosting a Local Work Group (LWG)  meeting Thursday August 13th from 4-5:30 PM at the NRCS office.  We understand that it is field season, so if you can’t make this meeting, please feel free to either fill out the LWG Task Guide  or stop by our office anytime on the 13th to talk to us directly about your ideas and concerns.  Of course, you can always call our office anytime up to that date as well (970)-879-3225 x 3.

This meeting is important for local landowners and partners to ensure NW Colorado is represented equally in determining state program funding pools, as well as, establishing or developing conservation practices to address resource concerns that are relevant to our area. By the end of the meeting, the LWG will come up with a list and brief discussion of 3 to 4 of Routt County’s top Natural Resource Concerns and ideas on how we can address these concerns.  We look forward to your involvement and representation as a voice in NW Colorado.



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Moving West Slope Water – the 4th video!

The Routt County Conservation District is pleased to announce our fourth video in our series featuring farmers and ranchers talking about water use in Colorado. Our state is developing its first-ever state water plan and we must be sure that our entire economy and way of life is supported in the plan.

The fourth video, called Moving West Slope Water, was released today and builds on the first three videos, Way of Life,   Smarter Solutions  and Colorado’s Economy Relies on Water .

Farmers and ranchers are acutely aware of the danger of taking water across the state in order to meet increased demand. They understand the importance of working together and know that we all have a role to play to meet water demands – and meet the demands of our entire economy.

Farmers and ranchers say over and over that taking water from the West Slope could devastate the region’s farms and ranches and, as a result, the entire state economy. Phillip Rossi from Rossi Ranches says he thinks that we should “learn from the mistakes of the past” and avoid drying up agriculture in the state like South Park. Lee Spann is concerned about our ability to compete with states like Arizona and California if we don’t have the water that supports our farms and ranches.

 

At Routt County Conservation District, we have shared these videos to help increase awareness of the Colorado water planning process and to ensure that state policymakers hear from these residents. We hope that by educating residents about agricultural water use, more will share their thoughts and concerns with the CWCB. We have even included a link on our site so that residents can submit comments directly from our site.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to see videos and other material as they are released. Please let me know if you have questions about our work with farmers and ranchers on the West Slope and the Colorado Water Plan.

 

 

The Economic Impact of Agriculture and Water on the West Slope

The Routt County Conservation District is pleased to share our third video in our series featuring farmers and ranchers talking about water use in Colorado. Our state is developing its first-ever state water plan and we must be sure that our entire economy and way of life is supported in the plan.

Bert and Sandy Guerrieri on their Mill Creek Cattle Ranch in Gunnison, Colorado.

Bert and Sandy Guerrieri on their Mill Creek Cattle Ranch in Gunnison, Colorado.

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Mark LeValley on his cattle and hay operation near Crawford, Colorado.

The third video, called Colorado’s Economy Relies on Water , was released today and builds on the first two videos, Way of Life and Smarter Solutions . Set against beautiful Colorado landscapes, ranchers like Lee Spann talk about our “water-based economy” and the dangers of diverting water across the state. Farmer Steve Ela warns of a “tipping point” where we take so much water from agriculture use that we impact the economy of the entire state.

At Routt County Conservation District, we are sharing these videos and other resources to increase awareness of the Colorado water planning process. We hope that by educating residents about agricultural water use, more will share their thoughts and concerns with the CWCB. We have even included a link on our site so that residents can submit comments directly from our site.

 

Smarter Solutions

In the first video, Way of Life, we talked with Colorado farm and ranching families about the history of agriculture in Colorado and how it is integral to our entire state. For example, the Rossi family from Yampa said that water is the “lifeblood” of Colorado.

The Rossi Family, Rossi Ranches, Yampa, Colorado.

The Rossi Family, Rossi Ranches, Yampa, Colorado.

In our second video, Smarter Solutions, farmers and ranchers discuss how they have made changes to help conserve water on the West Slope. The Colorado Water Plan will require that we all work together. Through methods like grazing plans and storage, many farming and ranching families are ensuring that existing water is maximized and can be re-used downstream. Lee Spann from Gunnison says that we can all conserve water and that education is key to help people understand the multiple uses of water in the state.

 

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Smarter Solutions from Routt County CD on Vimeo.

 

Lee Spann, ranching patriarch, Gunnison River Valley.

Lee Spann, ranching patriarch, Gunnison River Valley.

Dan Sullivan, Sullivan Ranches, Crawford/Hotchkiss area.

Dan Sullivan, Sullivan Ranches, Crawford/Hotchkiss area.

Phyllis Synder, Sidney & Phyllis Synder Ranch, Cortez, Colorado.

Phyllis Synder, Sidney & Phyllis Synder Ranch, Cortez, Colorado.

Dan James, James Ranch, Durango, Colorado.
Dan James, James Ranch, Durango, Colorado.

Steve Ela, Ela Family Farms, Hotchkiss, Colorado.

Steve Ela, Ela Family Farms, Hotchkiss, Colorado.

 

Morgan Bottom

The Morgan Bottom (middle Yampa River) Irrigation Delivery and Habitat Improvement Project has released the Geomorphic Assessment and Riparian Assessment.  A February 18th Stakeholder meeting brought landowners and ditch owners together to discuss next steps for the project.  The project team will be hosting April meetings going reach by reach (grouping some together) to begin detailing stakeholder suggestions, concerns and designs.

Download the Morgan_Bottom_RLA__Report_Feb 24_2015 with Final Executive Summary

Download the Riparian and Wildlife Assessment

For more information, contact Jackie Brown at (970) 879-3225 ext. 107, or email jackie.brown@routtcountycd.com, or stop by the USDA Service Center at 1475 Pine Grove Road, Suite 201a in Steamboat Springs, CO.